From New York to New Zealand – Former Lawyer of the Year Receives Honour for Pro Bono and Corporate Work

Many lawyers have a social conscience, perhaps more than any other professional group, but for corporate lawyer Stacey Shortall, a former LawFuel Lawyer of the Year, her impressive commitment towards helping others has seen her receive a Queen’s

She received the Member of the Order of Merit (MNZM) for her commitment to the law and the community.

A partner at leading New Zealand corporate law firm MinterEllisonRuddWatts, Stacey Shortall had previously worked for Paul Weiss in New York as a corporate litigator where she worked for over a decade handling complex financial, commercial, and environmental matters. 

She has achieved considerable experience defending class action lawsuits, complex financial litigation, and dealing with third party litigation funders and others and when she returned to New Zealand in 2010 she assumed partnership with her firm and continued with her highly recognised work with complex regulatory and related work, including disputes, litigation, high-stakes actions and other work.

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Pro Bono Focus

She has, however, always focused her attention on both her work and her pro bono practice and the work she started in New York and has continued in New Zealand, developing programs to assist mothers in prison, children in low-decile areas and other extensive and highly-engaged social programs designed to assist those in difficult or contentious situations.

She started a homework club for low-decile primary school children and a prison program called ‘Mothers Project’ to help jailed mothers maintain a good connection with their children. She also started the Homework HELP Clubs to let low decile primary schools and developed a project to match skilled people with not-for-profit projects.

She is also the founding trustee of the Who Did You Help Today? charitable trust to help started a homework club at a decile one primary school and developed a prison programme called Mothers Project to help jailed mothers maintain meaningful connections with their children.

She is also the founder of Our Words Matter which is an online forum for sharing ideas to solve the issues that affect New Zealand.

A highly proficient tennis player and former Manawatu representative netballer, she has homes in Wellington and Feilding with five children to track in a busy life.

She has received numerous awards for her community-based work in New York and New Zealand, including being named a semi-finalist for the Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year Award in 2019 and 2020. In 2020, she won Social Mobility Lawyer of the Year for her pro bono work at the Chambers Diversity and Inclusion Awards. In 2021, she received a Distinguished Alumni Award from Herenga Waka, Victoria University of Wellington.

In 2020, she won Social Mobility Lawyer of the Year for her pro bono work at the Chambers Diversity and Inclusion Awards. In 2021, she received a Distinguished Alumni Award from Herenga Waka, Victoria University of Wellington.

When interviewed by one media outlet in 2016 she said she was motivated to help because the strength of a national community is measured by those who help ” . . those of us who are vulnerable, disadvantaged, poor, homeless, uneducated, unemployed or imprisoned. And I believe our community can, and must, be stronger for all our children to realise their potential.”

From New York to New Zealand - Former Lawyer of the Year Receives Honour for Pro Bono and Corporate Work 3

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